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“More than a roof” – supporting communities of equal opportunities

Meet the finalists of the second European Responsible Housing Awards' category

Lyon, 9 May 2019 | Social, The future of the EU & Housing

Leading up to the 3rd European Responsible Housing Award ceremony taking place in Lyon on June 6th as part of the International Social Housing Festival, we will be showcasing all 25 finalists with their shortlisted projects. "More than a roof – supporting communities of equal opportunities" means ensuring decent, affordable housing (and which will remain so in the future), understanding that this is key to avoiding social and spatial segregation and promoting social cohesion in neighbourhoods. Check out our finalists below...


Nettelbeckplatz – An experimental way of renewal a cooperative housing estate in Berlin – Berlin, Germany

Housing Cooperative Berliner Bau- und Wohnungsgenossenschaft von 1892 eG pursued an experimental and innovative renewal of a 1970s social housing complex (from 1970s), which featured adaptations as well as additions/extensions (of modern apartments, ateliers, co-housing solutions for a variety of households), using innovative construction strategies, energy-saving technologies, improving accessibility, expanding common spaces, and supporting the self-organised community.

Dirk Lönnecker, Member of the Board, highlights the essential elements that made this project possible:

"The title of the category “More than a roof” is the key theme of housing-cooperatives. As democratic members’ organizations they combine sustainable building, social and cultural aims.

Although economic reasons play an important role to save building costs and to make affordable housing possible, non-financial benefits like a strong local community, egalitarian living standards and multi-generational solidarity are also important guidelines.    

Furthermore the success of the project was the result of a “co-operative/ co-working” process between all partners: research teams, architects, welfare organizations - in close interaction with the residents, neighborhood committees and the interdisciplinary staff of the “1892”."

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More than a roof: preventing evictions through intervention of social workers – Vienna, Austria

In their aim to provide affordable and adequate accommodation, municipal housing company Wiener Wohnen adapted their approach to include Case Management, with the specific objective of preventing eviction through intervention of social workers.

Susanne Bauer of Wiener Wohnen explains why they are particularly proud of this project:

“Preventing evictions means to prevent human misery and shows that Wiener Wohnen is a social municipal housing company that puts tenants first.”

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La Borda – Barcelona, Spain

Non-profit Cooperative Habitages La Borda SCCL spent 6 years pursuing a bottom-up organisational scheme in order to create a 28-unit housing cooperative, with low environmental impact and high community spirit. From day one, the residents initiated the design, funding, legal and economic decisions, conviviality schemes, with the help of social networks, surrounding neighbourhood and external expertise.

LaBorda say,

"One truly innovative element is that the entire development was funded without conventional banks. 2 million € (67% of the initial budged) comes from alternative sources of funding, including a loan from the Coop57 (a cooperative for ethical financial services with the objective of financing projects in the social and solidarity economy) and microloans from more than 300 individuals and organizations that supported the project. The inhabitants made a down payment of 18.500€ per unit, that recover if they leave, and now pay an affordable monthly fee to pay back the loans."

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The Block – Helsinki, Finland

Social enterprise Setlementtiasunnot promotes multi-generational block living, an innovative, user-centred and holistic social housing approach, exemplified in their project “The Block”. 262 apartments apartments for students, families, older people, and 20 wheelchair users.

The Block observe that,

We brought up the views of the residents in this kind of communal living. Happy and active people make a well-functioning and nice and cozy community. The community is not forced on to you, everyone may participate voluntarily. You don’t have to be alone in this.

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Building a new housing organisation with the community, building community within a new housing organisation – Saint-Gilles, Belgium

Non-profit organisation Community Land Trust-Brussels develops permanently affordable owner-occupied housing on community-controlled land. Using funds from Brussels Capital Region, houses are developed for people on low-income and the land remains property of CLTB community. 10 homes are inhabited, 40 homes are close to move-in day, with 100 more in preparation.

"As one of the founders of Community Land Trust Brussels and a long-time advocate for the right to housing”, says Geert De Pauw, Coordinator, “I am particularly proud of the positive impact our project has had on our community. Seeing our current and future residents empowered through our participatory approach which has made them able to fulfil their dream of having their own home gives us a sense of purpose to go the extra mile to undertake more housing projects and thus support more of our members towards their emancipation.”

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The European Responsible Housing Awards is a joint initiative of Housing Europe, the International Union of Tenants (IUT) and Delphis.

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